Pandas have three natural enemies that prey on them: leopards, jackals and the yellow-throated marten. While generally peaceful animals, pandas use their physical strength and natural skills to defend themselves when necessary, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Most attacks come against young pandas and not adults.
Adult male pandas weigh up to 250 pounds. The design of their strong jaws allows them to strip the hard outer layer from bamboo so they are able to eat the inner soft tissue. However, this same strength gives the panda a powerful bite it uses in defending itself. Pandas are able to climb trees to escape the dangers. Unlike other bears, they are also able to swim to avoid enemies. Their thick fur allows them to remain active throughout the year at elevations of 5,000 to 10,000 feet without hibernating as other bears do.
The biggest threats to pandas are not the animals that prey on them but the activities of humans. As humans claim more of the native habitat used by pandas, their numbers continue to decline. Poaching and illegal trading of pandas also causes a threat to their survival. According to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, there are 1,600 pandas left in the wild and more than 300 in zoos and breeding centers. In zoos, pandas have lived up to 35 years; however, their lifespan is considerably shorter in the wild.